Seyoon Chun

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20242025 Forum on Keywords

Seyoon Chun


CAS, 2026

Seyoon Chun is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in History. Originally from Long Island, New York, his primary research interests revolve around the Korean diaspora, the practice of oral history, and influence of Christianity on a global scale. His current project examines the role of American missionaries in 20th century Korea, and the key role churches serve in the lives of contemporary Korean-Americans. At Penn, Seyoon is involved with admissions work through the College Cognoscenti and teaches local Philadelphia high schoolers Asian American history through ASPIRE. He loves to play the piano, take care of houseplants, and cook in his free time. 

"Gyopo" Identity: Contemporary Korean-American Community Building in Christian Churches

Since the 20th century, American missionaries have long been recognized as key political organizers in the anti-Japanese movement in Korea and integration of Koreans into American society. Previous scholarship examines the political and cultural implications of this devout relationship, primarily for first generations of “Gyopo” (Korean-Americans). My project will focus on the transformation of Christianity as a keyword to the “Gyopo” identity, and how different generations of Koreans utilize churches as spaces for finding community in racially isolating environments. I will highlight the ways these generations struggle to define their identities, as churches may marginalize those who do not subscribe to hyper conservative values, despite having greater English fluency and awareness of American culture than their parents.